WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hours after learning that Major League
Baseball finally agreed to sell their team for $450 million, the
Washington Nationals went out and showed off some of their worst
The starting pitching was erratic. The clutch hitting was
nowhere to be found. The crowd was thin. And yet another home loss
went in the books -- against the low-budget, rookie-laden Florida
Marlins, no less.
It was the first time this season that Ramirez, acquired from
Boston in the Josh Beckett trade, was not in the starting lineup.
"You know, you try to give a guy a day off, let him relax his
mind," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said, "and he's in the biggest
situation in the game."
It was a tedious game that lasted nearly 4 hours and looked
exactly like what it was: A game between two teams that ended the
night with two fewer combined victories (16) than the NL
East-leading New York Mets.
There were 13 walks -- including one with the bases loaded by
Florida starter Brian Moehler -- three wild pitches and three hit
batsmen. There were 23 runners left on base. Washington stranded
13, leaving the bases loaded in the third and hitting into a
bases-loaded double play to end the fifth.
"It's probably been our biggest fault this year, hitting with
people on base," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.
At about 4:30 p.m., the Nationals received official word that
Major League Baseball would sell the team to Maryland-based real
estate developer Theodore Lerner, whose group includes former
Braves executive Stan Kasten. At 7:06 p.m., Tony Armas Jr. threw
the game's first pitch. Less than an hour later, he exited to boos
after the Marlins took a 5-0 lead.
"I let my team down," Armas said. "The offense and bullpen
did their job, and I wasn't able to do my job."
True, but Washington came all the way back to tie it on Brian
Schneider's first homer of the season, leading off the seventh.
Then, in the ninth, Washington's fifth pitcher, Mike Stanton
(1-3), gave up a leadoff double to Dan Uggla. One out and one
intentional walk later, Stanton gave way to Cordero, who was an
All-Star in 2005 and led the majors with 47 saves.
Cordero struck out Wes Helms for the second out, but then
Ramirez lifted a blooper to center on a full count to end an
"We haven't won for like seven days," Ramirez said. "I was
like, 'Let's do it."
It made a winner of Ricky Nolasco (2-1), who pitched a perfect
eighth a day after giving up four runs in just two-thirds of an
inning. Joe Borowski threw the ninth for his fourth save.
There was a bit of promising news for Washington, aside from the
ownership progress. Jose Guillen had two hits and two RBI; he came
in on a 2-for-27 slide that dropped his batting average 71 points
in eight days, down to .220 entering Wednesday. Schneider also had
two hits and drove in three runs; he came in hitting .198.
Armas was yanked with one out in the third inning. He gave up
five hits -- including two homers -- hit two batters and threw a wild
pitch. Reggie Abercrombie hit a two-run shot and Helms hit first
homer of the season.
It all unfolded before an announced crowd of 21,918, the fifth
consecutive Nationals home game with fewer fans than the worst
turnout in 2005. Washington dropped to 1-8 at RFK Stadium this
season, and 1-7 in one-run games. The Nationals are 9-19 overall,
losers of nine of their last 11.
"It's a good feeling to know you do have ownership now that
will be in place shortly," Robinson said. "You can work and
perform or whatever -- or lack of performance -- just like anybody
Florida's Mike Jacobs was ejected from the dugout in the
fifth by plate umpire Larry Young. Girardi said he didn't hear what
Jacobs said. ... Florida LF Josh Willingham had three hits,
including two doubles. ... On Tuesday, Nolasco allowed four runs in
two-thirds of an inning and was charged with the loss against